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Game Day: Kings vs. Bruins

Saturday, 01.30.2010 / 9:21 AM / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop  - BostonBruins.com
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Game Day: Kings vs. Bruins
6:41 p.m.
It looks like Marco Sturm and Steve Begin will play tonight. Shawn Thornton, Vladimir Sobotka and Adam McQuaid should be scratches.

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6:30 p.m.
Tim Thomas is in goal for Boston. It looks like Jon Quick is in goal for LA.

6:29 p.m.
Maybe Sturm and/or Begin?

Coach Julien said that the B's may get some guys back tonight.

"Well, we've got Sturm and Begin are going to be out there for warmup," said Julien. "If everything goes well, we’ll make that decision then.

"But they felt better today and we want to give it a go in warmup and see how things go from there."

Julien also explained that he hoped that some of the good things that happened last night continue into this evening.

"There’s not doubt about it," he said. "A lot of things unfortunately get overshadowed.

"If you don’t score goals, a lot of good work goes maybe not rewarded as well because you don’t have the end result.

"But I thought we battled hard," he said.

However, the Coach reitterated his critique from Friday.

"We got ourselves in trouble early in the game with those penalties, which put us behind," he said. "Before we knew it, we were down 2-0, but that’s all we gave them from there on in.

"I thought we pushed hard and tried to get ourselves back in the game and ran into a hot goaltender that so far as been the key to their success this year."

No word as of yet on the B's goalie. 

6:21 p.m.
Pregame Pressbox Notes
DIVISION PACESETTERS ON DOCKET: During this current stretch of five games, the Bruins will face three division leaders, beginning with last night’s game against Northeast Division leading Buffalo Sabres. The Black & Gold will also meet the Southeast Division leading (and Eastern Conference leading) Washington Capitals on Tuesday, February 2 and the Northwest Division leading Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, February 6. Also on the upcoming schedule are the Los Angeles Kings, who currently rank sixth in the Western Conference and the rival Montreal Canadiens, who currently sit 11th in the East.

SIX STRAIGHT:  The Bruins have lost their last six games (0-5-1) with their last win a 2-1 shootout victory in San Jose on January 14. The team has not lost seven straight games since March 17 – April 3, 1997.

KINGS NOTEBOOK:  The Kings are coming off a 4-1 victory over the Blue Jackets in their last outing on Thursday… Tonight is game four of a five game road trip for L.A., and they are 3-0-0 through the first three… The Kings have won five straight on the road and have not lost away from home since December 30… They are 6-1-0 in their last seven overall… Anze Kopitar has a four game point streak in progress with 3-4=7 totals during that span.

BRUINS/KINGS CONNECTIONS: Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic and Daniel Paille all scored their first NHL goals vs. the Kings. Kings defenseman Sean O’Donnell played 232 games as a Bruin from 2001-2004. Goaltending Coach Bill Ranford played 122 games in goal for the Bruins over four seasons (1985-86, 1986-87, 1995-96 and 1996-97). Matt Hunwick and Jack Johnson were teammates at the University of Michigan from 2005-07.

NEELY SK8 CHALLENGE: Beginning the weekend of January 30 and continuing throughout the month of February, the Boston Bruins Foundation and the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care are hosting the First Annual “Neely SK8 Challenge” skate-a-thon presented by Liberty Mutual. The Neely SK8 Challenge fundraiser will help raise funds for children battling cancer and their families. Bruins fans of all ages can register to skate at one or more of the 23 FMC participating rinks. A complete list of skate dates, rink locations and more information can be found on BostonBruins.com.

SPECIAL TEAMS WATCH: The Bruins rank 20th in the NHL on the power play overall (17.3%) and 7th at home (21.3%). They rank 2nd on the PK overall (87.2%) and 4th at home (88.8%). The Kings rank 12th on the PP overall (18.5%) and 9th on the road (19.5%). They rank 24th on the PK overall (79.6%) and 6th on the road (84.6%).

5:31 p.m.
Milan Lucic and Marc Savard (with Zdeno Chara) combined to score the Bruins lone goal on Friday night in Buffalo.

Today, the B’s hope to take whatever momentum they garnered in that win to the next level as they face Los Angeles in Boston.

“You know, you look back at last game, they got the first goal and we took a few penalties, which put us on our heels,” said Milan Lucic just a few minutes ago. “It would be nice to start off with a lead and try to build off that.”

Savard’s mere presence in the lineup seemed like it sparked the Bruins.

“I felt like yesterday more than the two games before I was getting more scoring chances,” said Lucic, Savard’s linemate. “It’s nice that one finally went in."

But Lucic admitted that it almost didn't happen.

“If I had handled that clean, I probably wouldn’t have gotten one past the goalie [laugh], so it’s nice to get one in and hopefully I can build off that and have a few more go in,” said the left wing.

For his part, Savard  said it was good to be back.

“It felt pretty good and hopefully I can get better tonight,” said the all-star center. “I haven’t really had any problems at all and that was a good sign.

“My wind was a little short sometimes, but besides that, I felt great.”

And his new linemates helped his game, as well.

“Me, Luch and Miro [Satan] -- we felt pretty comfortable together and had a pretty good game and hopefully we can carry it over to tonight,” said Savard.

Neither man thought the game against the Kings would be anything short of a struggle.

“They’re a team that’s never going to give up and we’ve got to be ready for that,” said Lucic. “We’ve got to play a full 60 minutes tonight and it’s got to be a full team effort.”

And, as Coach Julien alluded last night, wins -- particularly in the short run before the Olympic break -- are the only thing that matters.

“We want to try and win them all and it starts with the first one here today,” said Savard. “If we can get off on the right foot, hopefully we can do that.”

5:06 p.m.
Los Angeles Kings' Jonathan Quick, right, makes a save as teammate Anze Kopitar, center, of Slovania, and Columbus Blue Jackets' Fredrik Modin, of Sweden, fight for position during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio. The Kings beat the Blue Jackets 4-1. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
The Bruins are in the building. The change over to ice hockey mode is complete and the B's will drop the puck in approximently two hours.

No word on the starter in goal, yet. But Coach Julien will speak to the media at 5:50 p.m.

In the meantime, USA Today had the Kings lines looking like below:

Richardson-Kopitar-Simmonds
Smyth-Stoll-Brown
Frolov-Handzus-Parse
Ivanans-Moller-Segal

On the blueline, Jack Johnson is questionable for Saturday's game.

4:02 p.m.
For those of you who might not have seen it, Boston Bruins Week Ahead hits BostonBruins.com every Friday (or sometimes Saturday) and is full of great information and statistics about your Black & Gold. For instance, this week's team leaders...

Goals
1. M. Sturm, 15
T2. P. Bergeron, 12
T2. B. Wheeler, 12
T2. M. Ryder, 12
Three tied with 9

Assists
1. Z. Chara, 25
2. P. Bergeron, 21
T3. M. Recchi, 18
T3. D. Morris, 18
T3. D. Krejci, 18

Points
1. P. Bergeron, 33
T2. B. Wheeler, 29
T2. Z. Chara, 29
T4. M. Recchi, 27
T4. D. Krejci, 27

Plus/Minus
1. M. Sturm, +8
2. Z. Chara, +5
T3. J. Boychuk, +3
T3. M. Satan, +3
5. M. Savard, +2

Penalty Minutes
1. S. Thornton, 87
2. Z. Chara, 64
3. M. Stuart, 40
4. S. Begin, 38
5. B. Wheeler, 32

Get week's full practice schedule and community appearance docket, here.

3:48 p.m.
Blazers 11, Wings 9, Final.
The TD Garden bullgang change the arena from indoor lacrosse to hockey (photo: Sam Wood).
I just finished watching the Boston Blazers defeat the Philadelphia Wings, 11-9.

Says NLL.com...
Dan Dawson scored four goals to go along with two assists and goaltender Anthony Cosmo recorded 33 saves to lead the Boston Blazers over the Philadelphia Wings, 11-9, in front of 7,289 fans at the TD Garden on Saturday.

Daryl Veltman cemented the Blazers' win with his goal late in the fourth quarter. He finished with four goals and an assist.


Definitely a fun afternoon had by all -- except maybe for the TD Garden Bull Gang, who are currently changing the arena over from indoor lacrosse to hockey.

The Boston Bruins and Los Angeles kings should begin to arrive any minute now...

10:00 a.m.
Because of the Boston Blazers game at the TD Garden this afternoon, the Kings have ice at the Bright Hockey Center at Harvard University from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

No word on if they are utilizing the ice, however.

9:35 a.m.
No morning skate for Boston this morning. We should get some lineup updates from the Bruins locker room when the B's start arriving around 4:00 p.m.

9:22 a.m.

Buffalo Sabres' Derek Roy (9) battles for the puck with Boston Bruins Dennis Wideman (6) during the third period of the NHL hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Friday, Jan. 29, 2010. The Sabres won 2-1. (AP Photo/ David Duprey)
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien stayed clear, concise and calm when he talked about the Bruins 2-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres last night.

And as the team planed to leave Western New York, Julien spoke about the facts and figures that continue to put his club in the "L" column.

"Better," was his assessment of the B's play. "Unfortunately, right now, we’re really looking at the end results as something really important and it wasn’t there again tonight.

"I think our whole game was much better than it has been lately, so hopefully it gets a little better tomorrow and we don’t dig ourselves a hole like we did tonight."

That hole was drilled by Black & Gold clad men occupying the HSBC penalty box and had nothing to do with the relatively restful week of practice.

"No, it didn’t really have anything to do with those four days," he said. "It was just some bad penalties that we took and we needed those four days the way we had been playing.

"So we’ll take those four days as a positive and not use that as an excuse for tonight."

One bright spot was the play of Marc Savard and his new linemates Milan Lucic and Miroslav Satan, but Julien wasn't exactly jumping up and down about the play of one line.

"That’s just one game and they weren’t bad," tempered Julien. "We know that we have what it takes in the room.

"Now I think it’s just a matter of a lot of guys having to put up the numbers that they did last year.

"That’s a little frustrating for them and for us and again, if confidence will help them attain that, hopefully we get it soon."

Samantha Wood contributed to today's blog.

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